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Cal’s consistency: Bears take 1st at women’s gymnastics regional finals

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Head Sports Editor

APRIL 05, 2023

Cal women’s gymnastics has been consistent on several fronts this season, but perhaps its greatest consistency is record breaking. Following suit, the team did just that at the NCAA regionals this past weekend, not only taking first at the Pittsburgh regional final, but first among all four regional final competitions.

The Bears headed to the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the two-day regional competition looking to secure a ticket to the NCAA women’s gymnastics semifinals. Coming off of its first bye week after 11 consecutive weeks of competition, the program came into the meets rested and ready.

Day one of regionals featured No. 7 Cal, No. 10 Michigan State, Western Michigan and West Virginia. To open up the meet, Cal began on one of its strongest events this season — beam. The team tallied a 49.275 on the event and moved onto floor where it posted its highest score of day one, a 49.550. Standout freshman eMjae Frazier notched a 9.95 on the event that secured a first-place floor title for the Bears.

Despite strong performances, the program had several uncharacteristic mistakes throughout the competition. These mistakes revealed themselves most on vault, where they finished with an atypically low 48.925. However, this wasn’t to tarnish Cal’s confidence — the team concluded the meet with powerful bar performances that resulted in a first-place finish. MSU fell closely behind to take the second spot to the regional finals.

“We knew our first day wasn’t our best day and we were hungry — we wanted more,” said senior Nevaeh DeSouza. “We knew we (could) improve our landings, and so we kind of buckled down and settled in and got comfortable with the equipment on day one so that day two, we could come back and do a lot better on our landings.”

Day two, which featured Cal, Michigan State, No. 2 Florida and No. 15 Arizona State, fell snug into the Bears’ consistency of record breaking.

In stark contrast to day one of regionals, where the team opened on one of their stronger events, Cal began on its weakest: vault. While the Bears’ 49.275 overtook their day one score, it still put them in fourth heading into the second rotation. Frazier was the only Cal gymnast to post a 9.9 on the event.

The freshman’s 9.9 on vault was the first of four Frazier 9.9s during the meet — a 9.925 on beam followed by a 9.95 and 9.975 on beam and floor, respectively, not only broke Frazier’s career high with a 39.750, but broke the program’s all-around record.

“She really lived in the moment tonight, which was fun,” said co-head coach Justin Howell. “Once she did (vault), she just kind of set the wheels in motion on the other three events and was super, super consistent. So proud of her.”

The team headed into the second rotation on its historically strongest event: bars. Sophomore Maddie Williams posted a 9.95 on the event, matching her day one bar performance and ultimately matching her career-high all-around 39.625. Solid routines pushed the Bears into third place heading into the final two rotations.

The third rotation was the turning point for Cal — from this point forward (including the fourth rotation), no Bear scored below a 9.9. Sophomore Mya Lauzon, junior Gabby Perea and Frazier all notched twinning 9.95s on beam. Added 9.9s by teammates gave the Bears a 49.650 on the event, the highest event score of the meet. These powerful showings left Cal with confidence as it headed into the final rotation.

“We went into the floor rotation with so much energy and just having so much fun, and we told ourselves it’s going to be a party,” Perea said. “Last one, best one. And again, I don’t even think we were focusing on the score. We were just having fun.”

And fun they had — each gymnast scored a 9.9 with the exception of Lauzon and Frazier, who scored a 9.95 and 9.975, respectively.

These formidable performances offered Cal a well-deserved first-place finish that secured its ticket to the semifinals in Fort Worth, Texas on April 13 through April 15. The Bears’ final score of 198.075 is both its highest away score and postseason score in program history, and took first of all four regional competitions.

“It’s an exciting time and we’re really looking forward to getting out to Fort Worth and competing with the best of the best,” Howell said.

Contact Mia Wachtel at 


APRIL 05, 2023